What would you do with a 2-week furlough?

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This topic contains 10 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  Peter Sperry 7 years, 10 months ago.

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  • #121754

    As unpleasant as it is to think about this, the prospect is here and growing closer. So going by the principle “if you’ve got lemons make lemonade,” what could you do with the time?

    I am thinking I’d write the Great American Novel.

    Here’s some useful info, just in case.

  • #121774

    Peter Sperry

    Before everyone works themselves into a tizzy over furloughs, lets remember these proposals are mostly coming from junior back bench members. To actually furlough anyone, the proposal would have to be enacted by both House and Senate and than signed by the President. It is much more likely they will simply make a great deal of noise with press releases to brand themselves as fiscal conservatives and then move on to more serious legislation.

    And if they can arrange them in the middle of winter, I’ll be in Costa Rica. Summer and I’ll be in Quebec with beer and poutine. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poutine

  • #121772

    Terrence Hill

    I would take it all at once to get it over with, during one of the months when we have an “extra” payday (like May or November). This year I would go to CA to spend time helping to care for my newborn grandson.

  • #121770

    Ana Stella Troncoso

    I would be at home, eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and re-aqcuainting myself with every book on my shelf. Would like to get some writing done.

    However, the idea terrifies me since each month, most of one paycheck goes almost completely to my rent, and the other goes to student loans/cable/internet/phone/electricity bills. My husband’s income (minimal, unfortuately) pays for cell phone bill and groceries. What little we have left goes into savings and (small) tokens of entertainment. I’m sure we could make better spending choices, but the fact is that I don’t currently have an entire paycheck that I could forego without some serious consequences. Furloughs are not the answer folks. Those people who are so certain that govies make so much more than everyone else should look at GS 5, 6, and 7s – not just 13, 14, 15s.

    Bless you all who’d be able to lose a pay period’s pay and still take a vacation. It’s that attitude that fuels the (admittedly farfetched) talk of furloughs.

  • #121768

    Tim Evans

    Unlikely you will get two consecutive weeks off; more likely, one day a pay period or some such.

  • #121766

    Mike Lowell

    One day a pay period means a ski day in the winter and golf or bike ride in the summer. I don’t like lemons, but do like lemonade…

  • #121764

    Ana Stella Troncoso

    I’m a little disconcerted by the responses to this question. While I understand the fantasy aspect of wondering what to do with 10 free days in your year, or two consecutive weeks, it’s also a real question, with real financial implications.

    I wonder if any of you have thought of volunteering or doing something that would give back to part of your community on those days without work?

    As for skiing, a one-day pass to an inexpensive mountain in New England runs over $40. On a day in which I am not only not earning any money, but actually losing money I had previously planned on having, I don’t think I’d be keen on spending lift ticket money. Then again, I have a background in finance, and a family to be responsible for.

    Finally, if I were a politician reading this board, I think I’d be more convinced than ever that a furlough is the right thing to do… clearly you can all afford the time without pay! I’d like to hear the reaction from someone who’s been out of work for six months or more…


  • #121762

    Kristy Dalton

    Local government staff across the country has had to deal with furloughs for some time. A year ago we had to take 9 days of furlough. SUCKS to have mandatory unpaid leave, especially for single people who survive on one income. I’d suggest picking up some consulting work for your furlough days to recoup the cash you lose. It was a lot of work, but that’s what I did.

  • #121760

    Kristy Dalton

    Still, I would take a furlough over a pay cut. With pay cuts, you get less money but don’t get the time off.

  • #121758

    Mike Lowell

    OK, on a more serious note…and more detail. A 2 week furlough equates to approximately a 4% reduction in pay. If you add that to the possibility of a 5 year salary freeze, a federal employee has the potential to see a 15-20% reduction in pay. For this single income family with significant family medical issues, I am personally readjusting my financial situation and will be doing the following:

    1. Tightening the budget…including eliminating vacations. Now if one lives in Colorado (and has a local ski pass), a day of skiing is a low cost break. We will also be eliminating whatever debt we can and focus upon savings.

    2. Postponing any plans for retirement by at least 4-6 years.

    3. Plan on working during retirement.

    4. Continue to do the volunteer work with which I am already heavily involved.

    My earlier short answer is a result of my frustration with politicians who find government employees as the easy “poster child” or scapegoat for government spending. It is the legislature (federal and state) and administration (past and present) who authorize spending. The government employees only do what they are authorized to do. It is Congress that needs to be accountable for spending. Are looking at government salaries and benefits part of the equation…yes. But they always seem to rise to the top of the list because it’s great press and easy for the public to identify. I have worked in both the public and private sectors and have found most public servants to be committed and hard working…and often underappreciated.

  • #121756

    Jenyfer Johnson

    I am hoping this does not come to pass but my pessimistic side says it probably will.

    I don’t have any big plans for a vacation (can’t afford it after going through breast cancer treatment in 2009 and reconstruction in 2010). Workload really won’t allow me to be gone for two weeks either. Someone has to take care of my job and we don’t have “back-up” personnel. I will probably just take a day off every pay period and spend the time doing things that need to be done around my house, DIY projects, painting and such or knitting for relaxation.

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